Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal Speak About Doping - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal Speak About Doping

Ivan Pasquariello

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Ubi Tennis is already in London interviewing the top 8 contenders for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic also spoke about doping following the scandal that recently invested Russia. Do tennis players believe tennis is doing enough to tackle doping? Let’s see wha they said….

 

 

 

Cesare Alfieri from Ubi Tennis is already at the O2 Arena in London, soon joined by the rest of the crew to present our readers with the best possible coverage of the last ATP event of the year: the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals.

The stars of the racquet have already arrived in London and met with the media on Friday, in the usual pre-tournament press conference. Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal talked about their feeling approaching the last event of their season, but also speak out about hot topics such as doping in tennis and the controls organised to grant a clean professional athleticism.

The issue of doping in sports was recently raised again after a WADA report accused Russian athletics for poor control and possible proof hiding in order to grant athletes’ participation at the 2012 London Olympics. Is tennis controlled enough?

Roger Federer revealed not to be too surprised when hearing the news of doping accusations addressed to Russia. The 17-time Grand Slam champion believes there is a lot more that can be done to grant a clean sport. “Where are the anti-doping controls” Roger admitted asking himself once after playing a final on the tour. It seems aggressive check-ups aren’t as aggressive as it is being told, or as they should be?

It was then time for Novak Djokovic to comment on the news. Clearly hearing what happened has to be considered a “sad page for sports” according to Novak, who however believes the fight against doping in tennis is doing well and athletes are often tested. The Serb attended 3 or 4 extra tests outside of competition this year. Also, athletes are supposed to always inform the anti-doping agency of their moves and their location. Failing to report a move and a stay at a different location leads to a first warning. Three warnings mean athletes can be suspended, as it happened for instance with Novak’s compatriot Viktor Troicki.

Federer thinks tennis is not fighting against doping enough. Djokovic believes the sport is on the right track. What about Rafael Nadal?

The Spaniard believes a solution would be to have the data on tests and the frequency of testing made public. That would increase transparency and allow others to believe whether it is enough or testing should be further increased. To devote part of the prize money to fund anti-doping wasn’t an idea Rafael was crazy about, contrarily to 2013 Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, who thinks the fight to doping could use some extra money to increase efficiency.

Speaking of tournament-related topics, Rafael Nadal clenched on his idea of changing the surface of the ATP finals to red clay at least once every 15 years. Djokovic said he wouldn’t mind to have the Finals moving around the world to use the tournament as a marketing tool to promote the sport to new markets.

Are players tired of playing at the O2 Arena in London?

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Cameron Norrie Eyes Grand Slam Breakthrough Following Indian Wells Run

The Brit hopes his performance at the Masters 1000 event will help him break new ground in the future.

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Image via Indian Wells Twitter

Cameron Norrie hopes his run at the BNP Paribas Open will set him on course for future success at the Grand Slams where he is yet to reach the second week.

 

The world No.26 has broken new territory by reaching his first ever Masters 1000 final at Indian Wells and is only the fourth man from his country to do so at the tournament. He sealed his place in the final on Saturday with a 6-2, 6-4, win over Grigor Dimitrov in just under 90 minutes. Dimitrov is the third seed Norrie has beaten in the tournament after Roberto Bautista Agut and Diego Schwartzman.

Norrie’s unprecedented run has also sealed his spot in the world’s top 20 next week for the first time in his career. He will also overtake Dan Evans to become the new British world No.1. The new milestones occurs during what has been a breakthrough season for the 26-year-old who has reached the final at five other tournaments, winning his maiden title at the Los Cabos Open in Mexico.

However, in the Grand Slams Norrie is yet to make his mark. Out of 16 main draw appearances, he has managed to reach the third round four times with three of those occurring this year. His combined win-loss records at major tournaments currently stand at 12-16.

“I’ve had some opportunities there to make the second week of a slam, but it’s not gone my way,” Norrie said during his press conference on Saturday.
“It’s all been great learning for me. Hopefully with these results I can put myself in a higher seeding there, then maybe have some more chances.
“I’ve faced some pretty decent players this year in the third round [at the slams].
“Those experiences have been great for me, those big matches.”

However, the losses he suffered at Grand Slams this season has been to high-profile names. He was defeated by Rafael Nadal at both the Australian Open and French Open. Then at Wimbledon he fell to Roger Federer. The only exception was at the US Open where he lost to Spanish rising star Carlos Alcaraz Garfia who went on to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas and reach the quarter-finals.

“I’ve been playing a lot of big matches this year, which has helped. I feel like I am used to the big moments and the big matches,” Norrie said. “I’m feeling more and more comfortable and I feel like I am playing on my terms in key moments.”

Now on the verge of becoming the first British player in history to win the Indian Wells title, Norrie takes on Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili in the final. A player who he thrashed 6-0, 6-3, in Rotterdam earlier this year.

“I’m looking forward to the match and really looking forward to going out and enjoying it again,” he said.

Norrie was born is South Africa and grew up in New Zealand. He attended University in Texas where he became the No.1 college player in America. He has represented Great Britain since 2013.

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Nikoloz Basilashvili Puts ‘Small Country’ Georgia On The Map With Historic Run To Indian Wells Final

The 29-year-old is a win away from the biggest title of his career at the age of 29.

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Image via https://twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN/

Prior to the start of the BNP Paribas Open Nikoloz Basilashvili had never progressed beyond the fourth round of a Masters 1000 tournament in 32 attempts.

 

However, in the Californian desert the Georgian has enjoyed a fairytale run to the final with wins over Karen Khachanov followed by a shock victory against second seed Stefanos Tsitsipas. In his latest match, Basilashvili took on home favourite Taylor Fritz, whom he ousted 7-6(5), 6-3, in what was a relatively close encounter. The world No.36 failed to convert set points whilst leading 5-4 and 6-5 in the opening set before prevailing in the tiebreaker. Then in the second frame it was a single break in his favour which guided him to the finish line.

“I’m really happy. I think I played pretty good tennis. In my opinion, Taylor made me play a lot of balls. I had to actually play very good tennis from the baseline to beat him,” said Basilashvili who hit a total of 26 winners during the match.

The 29-year-old has been ranked as high as 16th in the world back in 2019 but has since fallen down to a current position of 36th. This season he has already won two ATP 250 titles in Doha and Munich. It was in Doha where he defeated Roger Federer, who was playing his first match following an injury break.

Despite those successes, Indian Wells is Basilashvili’s biggest achievement to date. Ironically, he had never won a main draw match at the tournament until this year. Now he is a win away from becoming the first player from his country to claim a Masters 1000 title.

“I’m super happy I can achieve something like this, especially (from) a country like Georgia, a very small country. Tennis is not that popular. I made my way. I passed really tough roads to get to here, so it means a lot,” he reflected.

Basilashvili says he had to work hard to get where he is now due to where he came from. Working his way up through the lower level tournaments without a sponsor or wildcard’s to back him up. He didn’t break into the world’s top 100 until the age of 23 and he won his first Tour title at 26. Basilashvili has also scored six wins over top 10 players in his career but 2021 is the first season where he has managed to record multiple wins.

“I made my way, I passed very difficult times. I had to gain a lot of experience from playing futures, then playing challengers, move on from challengers and then to ATP tournaments,” he said.
“I knew I would never play really good tennis at a young age because I needed this experience. I never had an opportunity to get wild cards. I did not have any support from my country because obviously tennis is not popular there.’
“As well as the financial side, I never had a kind of sponsor. I knew I had to pass those roads to get to here match by match gaining experience as well as playing quarterfinals, semifinals. This is all experience.’
“I’m happy where I am right now. I am calculating how I’m playing. I calculated that I could play good tennis late in my career, at a late age.”

Standing in the way of his first Masters 1000 title will be Cameron Norrie who is also through to the biggest final of his career to date and will pose a stern challenge. The Brit has already played five Tour finals this year, winning his first title in Mexico. Norrie defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-4, in his semi-final match.

He’s playing very good at this tournament. He had previously had really good weeks. I will learn him (his match) today, and come up with a plan for tomorrow,” Basilashvili said of his upcoming opponent.
“But overall he’s not so nice to play against from the baseline. He’s been playing really, really smart and very good tennis. I’m looking forward to it. If I can play my game and be relaxed, I think I can play well.”

The winner of Sunday’s final will be the first man ranked outside of the world’s top 25 to do so since Ivan Ljubicic in 2010.

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Daniil Medvedev Withdraws From Moscow

Daniil Medvedev has withdrawn from Moscow as he looks to recover for the last two tournaments of the season.

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Daniil Medvedev (@BNPPARIBASOPEN - Twitter)

US Open champion Daniil Medvedev has withdrawn from his home tournament in Moscow as he looks to get fully fit for the rest of the season.

 

The world number two suffered a disappointing exit in the fourth round of Indian Wells when he lost to Grigor Dimitrov from a set and 4-1 up.

After that disappointment Medvedev has decided to take some time off and therefore withdraw from the Kremlin Cup next week in Moscow.

Citing not being at 100% the Russian will now look to be fit for the rest of the season which ends at the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin, “Hello everyone! I am really sad to announce that this year I won’t be participating in Kremlin cup,” Medvedev announced on his social media platforms.

“It’s always special to have a chance to play in front of Russian fans. I signed in to give myself best chances to play, but with calendar this year being extremely tough I felt that my body is not ready 100% anymore.

“This decision was very tough for me but it has to be done in order to be able to finish 2021 season strong! Thank you and see all soon!”

Medvedev will next play the last Masters 1000 event in Paris-Bercy before finishing his season in Turin as he looks to finish his historic season with a flourish.

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